E30 Antenna Fix DIY - Antenna not going all the way up or down? by HawaiianE30

By diyauto
( 2 )

5 minute read

E30 Antenna Fix DIY - Antenna not going all the way up or down?

Compliments of HawaiianE30 @ r3vlimited.com


Ok, after looking for some previous documentation on an actual e30 antenna fix DIY and coming up empty I decided to tackle it myself.

If you have a non working antenna on your e30 and that's about 99% of you then here's what you need to do. If your antenna cable is actually broken or missing teeth (hearing clicking noises) then yes you need a new one. You can follow this DIY after you purchase a replacement mast. 

Mine was only raising the first section and then stopping, the motor would stop trying, I heard no clicking noises so it was safe to assume all the collapsed sections were just frozen together on mine.

First you need to remove the mast. Get an adjustable wrench and gently unscrew the top nut of the mast until it's clicking (doesn't unscrew any more). Have a friend turn the ignition to ON and turn on the radio or you can jump in and turn it on and then quickly run to the mast and pull on it as it tries to raise it up. Keep pulling until it's completely out. Now you can inspect the cable for damage and get a new one if necessary.

Here is what I assembled after removing the mast:

Douse liberal amounts of WD-40 everywhere and try to extend the mast from the top. If you can do this with your hands then awesome... I could not for the life of me. I slipped the 12mm box wrench down the shaft, adjusted the other wrench so it would hold the top and then STOOD on the adjustable wrench to keep it in place then I pulled with all my strength. Still nothing. More WD, then using the same setup I held one wrench in one hand and then I would quickly slide the other one back as hard as I could over and over again. Basically you just need to break the oxidation and crud that has built up over the years.

Eventually you should get the mast completely extended with liberal doses of WD on each segment. With the mast fully extended I took some Bar Keepers Friend and polished the mast  ahemm. Got all of the crud off and made sure after plenty of cycling it in and out with WD that there were no rough spots. I then took some lithium grease and put some on each segment and cycled it again. Basically you should be able to take hold of the cable and push the mast to be fully extended without much force and then suck it back up again.

Now I've heard that there are some way more skilled people out there than me and they turned on the radio, waited until the motor stopped, threaded the cable (teeth facing the rear) down the hole as far as it could go then had a friend turn OFF the radio as it sucked back up the cable and mast, tighten the nut, wallahh you're done. I couldn't get it to catch.

Removing the motor is easy-peasy... bend down the plastic carpet walls for access, take a 10mm and remove the ground bolt towards the top and unscrew the coaxial antenna cable. Now push on the bottom of the motor housing towards the side of the car and it will slide off the mounting bracket. With some minor cursing you should be able to wiggle it out if there.

Take a screwdriver and gently insert it under the tabs and turn just enough to release it... then move on to the next one.

Now with it open you can see what is going on and also inspect for damage. I put a couple of dabs of lithium grease on the cable itself. Thread the cable down the hole with the teeth facing the correct way. I actually had to pull out the motor itself to get the cable to catch properly but once it's started then you manually turn the little wheel which in turn pulls the cable back in... continue until it's fully in and seated. Tighten the top nut and then reinstall!

Mine works great now with excellent reception... crossing my fingers it lasts a while. I like to at least try fix everything myself, and it saves you $30+ if you can save your existing mast.